Hong Kong's free and well-developed business environment has prompted 265 companies to set up or expand in the city - the most in 10 years, InvestHK director general Simon Galpin said. That achievement came against the background of a 39 per cent drop in global foreign direct investment to US$1 trillion last year and exceeded the target of 250 firms, he said. Four-fifths were new to the city and the rest were expansions. These companies brought foreign direct investment amounting to at least HK$4.4 billion, said Victoria Tang Chung-man, an associate director general of InvestHK, the government's investment promotion arm. About 6,000 jobs are expected to be created in the first two years of their launch or expansion. The new firms are mostly from the mainland, the United States and Britain, and mostly in business and professional services, technology, recycling or wine-related activities. Galpin said: 'Many overseas firms are concerned about receiving payment after a transaction, the ability to settle disputes fairly in court and to enforce intellectual property rights. Hong Kong's rule of law and free flow of information are therefore attractive to these companies.' Angus Cheung Him-wah, the chief executive of China Aircraft Services, said InvestHK helped the firm expand by assisting it in overseas promotional efforts. The firm plans to recruit 200 local staff. Arjen van Mierlo, the head of Asian operations for Endemol, an entertainment production firm, said InvestHK provided useful guidance and a network through which he could contact other media companies and attend events. Meanwhile, the latest quarterly business tendency survey reflected an improvement in outlook, with those expecting business conditions to worsen this quarter falling to 10 per cent from 17 per cent in the previous quarter, the Census and Statistics Department announced yesterday.